Virtual reality goes viral
9 August 2019
The Women’s and Children’s Hospital is embracing virtual reality to help some of the state’s youngest patients through uncomfortable tests and procedures.
Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) Endocrine Nurse, Kate Williams, said minor invasive procedures such as taking blood and intravenous infusions can be extremely stressful for children.
“For children and families, the anxiety leading up to these procedures can be more overwhelming than the pain,” Ms Williams said.
“Using virtual reality (VR) as a distraction tool makes it possible to transport children out of the room where their procedure is being performed, reducing stress and anxiety.
“VR headsets have become popular in several areas in the hospital, including the Medical Day Unit and Emergency Department, and we’re grateful to be able to make hospital visits easier for our patients too.”
Four VR headsets have been funded by The Friends of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital for use during a study into the causes of Type 1 Diabetes by Adelaide University.
The study’s Engagement Coordinator, Kelly McGorm, said the VR technology takes the child on a visual journey out of the clinical room meaning blood draws can be done with less stress.
“Having the use of VR headsets is a useful tool for our study, particularly for children who are anxious about their visits because of the needles,” Dr McGorm said.
“The Friends of WCH provided us with four headsets for our South Australian participants and we have also implemented VR into our research across the rest of Australia.”
The Friends President, Pauline Link, said the donors from across the state can now see how their generosity impacts the lives of South Australian children.
“We have had great feedback about the use of VR that we have funded to distract children during their procedures, and will continue funding this technology in other areas of the hospital,” Ms Linke said.
The ENDIA Study looks into the causes of Type 1 Diabetes in children, which involves taking blood and other samples every three months from children under two years of age and every six months for older children.